The Big Easy Wants to Get Its Game On

While the video game development business has been expanding in Louisiana in recent years, officials in New Orleans believe that the Big Easy deserves a larger slice of the pie.

To that end, New Orleans City Business reports that officials there have formed the Digital Media Alliance, a group whose lofty goal is to make New Orleans "a world leader in digital and new media."

Officials point to a similar organization which – along with tax incentives – helped persuade Electronic Arts to establish a game testing center in Baton Rouge last year. From the report:

While the initial focus is on video game designers and Web programmers, the industry includes a broader segment of what [one official] called “knowledge workers,” a description that includes those in creative design to architecture to film to music…

One advantage our area offers is lower labor costs… An employer could pay a programmer $50,000 in New Orleans, but that same programmer would be paid 50 percent more in New York or San Francisco, he said, adding that the programmer’s lifestyle would be twice as good here.

Hecht said it is paramount that the New Orleans region market itself to the industry. During the current economic downturn, the region offers a “combination of culture, cost of living and incentives” and “a very attractive alternative” for the digital media industry, he said.

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